Have you Heard of the Witch’s Heart?

I found these posted to eBay. I’d never heard about a witch’s heart, in this way. A lot of things were “to ward off evil spirits”. But, I wonder, how was this a witch’s heart in particular. What made it something other than a decorated hear? Like a claddagh (the heart with a hand holding it on each side and a crown on top) there must be a story to this witch’s heart too.

Looking into it, I found that it is also known as a Luckenbooth, the Scots word for a workshop or lockable stall. This name came about in the 17th century when they were sold in booths in Edinburgh, Scotland along the Royal Mile. These were the first permanent shops in the city but they were demolished in 1817.

The charm started appearing in the 15th century. Usually the design has the bottom of the heart twisted to the right.

In the Middle Ages they were worn to ward off evil for lovers and loved ones. Tiny witch’s hearts were pinned to baby blankets to ward off evil spirits and evil eyes.

By the 18th century they were worn as tokens of love, symbolizing being bewitched (with love) by or for someone.  Some have a crown (a symbol of loyalty) on the top. Double hearts were for a betrothal or marriage. They could be engraved with dates, initials and mottoes on the back. Most were made of silver with jewels (real or paste) like garnets.

It is more often called a luckenbooth brooch or pendant when I have searched for it online. I suspect the history of being known as a witch’s heart will eventually be forgotten. The luckenbooths tend to be very Celtic Scottish looking. So, search for witch’s heart if you want less history and more heather (heathergems).

Where the Wild Things Are: Magick versus Magic

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, September, 11, 2003.

Magic versus magick. Where do you stand on the word?

Magick isn’t in the dictionary, so far. But I think it’s a good addition to the language. It shows a difference in magic as done by a magician versus magick as done by a Witch, Wiccan or Pagan type person. We aren’t doing card tricks to amuse kids at a birthday party. Our magick is not entertainment. As much as I appreciate and enjoy magic, I don’t want to see magick called magic.

Confused? Then let’s add to your confusion. What is a Witch compared to a Wiccan or a Traditional Witch?

In my opinion (notice the qualifier) a Wiccan is someone who follows the ideals set out by Gardener and friends in the last century. Traditional Witches are those who come from a family of Witches, thus they inherited the traditions. Meanwhile Witches are those who base their witchery on herbalists, wise women and men from ages ago and whatever else they can discover from the long ago past.

Does that help or do you want even more confusion to add to your confusion? Let’s just add the words eclectic and solitary to the mix. Can you be a solitary eclectic? Of course. Solitary just means you choose to be alone, not a member of a coven or some such group. Can you be solitary and a coven member? No, that kind of defeats the whole solitary thing. Anyone can be eclectic. There are so many ideals, traditions and so much history that it’s really hard to find someone who agrees with another person about everything. So, most of us could call ourselves eclectic. Does that mean you should? No, it’s too confusing. Find something to describe your style of Wicca or Witchery and stick with it. You don’t have to be a carbon copy of everyone else but you can make everything simpler to understand. Besides, in the end we are all part of the group of Pagans.

Confused?

Go find some answers. Don’t be shy.